Cancer: Connecting to Cultures

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
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Cancer used to be a death sentence and many feared even talking about it. That has changed drastically in the last few decades — at least in “mainstream America.”

But what about in our diverse communities in New Mexico? Overall, cancer is still more common in the Anglo population than in Native American or Hispanic/Latino communities. However, that is starting to shift. And screening rates in these communities tend to be lower. Thus it’s common for cancer to be detected at later stages. That, along with other factors, leads to worse outcomes in terms of surviving cancer. Also certain types of cancer are actually higher among these groups, such as colon cancer in Hispanics, and cancer of the gall bladder and kidney in Native Americans.

What are the challenges in talking about cancer in Hispanic and Native communities? Why aren’t people getting earlier screenings? What role does access to care play? And how can we change these outcomes in New Mexico?

On this month’s Public Square, as part of linking to the new Ken Burns documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” we’ll explore these questions with Hispanic and Native survivors of cancer, advocates and health workers, as well as data experts. And we’ll talk about solutions with Joaquin Baca and Dr. Art Kaufman at the University of New Mexico.

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE is provided in part by American Graduate and a new, 2-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“Some of our community members don’t want their community members their families to even know that they’ve been diagnosed with this.”
Jean Pino, Community Health Representative, Zia Pueblo

“It was amazing someone was talking to me in my own language about my issue.”
Carmengloria Wichelns, Cancer survivor and peer mentor with Comadre a Comadre

“Everybody providing healthcare has to be culturally competent.”
Charles Wiggins, Director and Principal Investigator, New Mexico Tumor Registry

“A pap test, something you can go into a facility and they can do very simply, that you can get. But if you need a colonoscopy, you better get in line.”
Emily Haozous, Assistant Professor, UNM College of Nursing

“We need more Native physicians, Hispanic physicians, nurses at all levels of the field of primary care and medicine.”
Dr. Gayle Dine’ Chacon, Family Medicine Physician, Sandia Pueblo

Panelist Participant List

Community Panel:
Helen D. Bird
Single Parent,
Cancer Survivor Advocate
Alcohol substance abuse counselor
Santo Domingo Pueblo

Dr. Gayle Dine’ Chacon
Medical Director, Sandia Pueblo Health Center

David Espey, MD
CDC/NCCDPHP Medical Officer for Tribal Affairs
Assigned to Albuquerque, NM

Emily Haozous PhD., RN
Assistant Professor, UNM College of Nursing
Chiricahua Fort Sill Apache

Jean Pino
Community Health Representative Coordinator, Zia Pueblo

Iris V. Reano
Pueblo de Cochiti Health Program Director

Dalila Romero
Patient Navigator, Comadre a Comadre Program
Breast cancer survivor of 20 years
Comadre office: 277-2398

Elba Saavedra
Director, Faculty, UNM College of Education, Comadre a Comadre Program
Comadre office: 277-2398

Simon E. Suina
Community Health Representative
Pueblo de Cochiti

Carmengloria Wichelns
Cancer survivor and peer mentor with Comadre à Comadre

Chuck Wiggins
Director, New Mexico Tumor Registry

Leadership Panel:
Joaquin Baca
Program Director, Health Sciences Center, Vice Chancellor for Community Health

Arthur Kauffman
Professor & Vice Chancellor, UNM Office for Community Health

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